News Release

USDA Forest Service encourages kids to get outdoors

Part of larger Administration campaign focusing on children's health, and national forests

June 10, 2010 -

USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell is encouraging kids to reconnect with nature by participating in the annual National Get Outdoors Day ("GO Day"), this Saturday, June 12.  Now in its third year, National GO Day focuses on a single day when people can be inspired and motivated to get outdoors.  National GO Day encourages healthy, active outdoor fun by encouraging first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting youth to the great outdoors.

"GO Day provides a great opportunity for kids from all walks of life to explore and enjoy our national forests," said Tidwell.  "We especially hope to see a lot of first-time visitors to our forests and grasslands to instill a sense of pride and ownership of our country’s diverse landscapes and resources."

Since 2009, the Forest Service and Ad Council have worked together on the Re-connecting Kids with Nature campaign to encourage children and their parents to foster a connection with urban and national forests.  The Forest Service and Ad Council, in cooperation with DreamWorks, will launch a new series of public service announcements on GO Day.

The campaign directly supports the goals of the President’s Conference on America's Great Outdoors Initiative by actively supporting and promoting programs, projects and initiatives that encourage use of outdoor spaces by the public.

Planned events of the week include:

  • The American Recreation Coalition sponsored a Recreation Exchange Luncheon on June 10 at the USDA, where Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed the President’s Conference on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative and the economic importance of national forests and other public lands to America’s rural communities.
  • GO Day events range from large, multi-partner events at Kingman Island (a living classroom) in Washington, DC to smaller events on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska.
  • The Forest Service will also sponsor GO Day events at more than 30 Forest Service locations nationwide providing a variety of free recreational events designed to introduce children and new segments of the American public to the great outdoors while fostering a deeper appreciation for natural resources.
  • Forest Service Associate Chief Hank Kashdan and the Ad Council will hold a press conference on June 11 in Denver joining DreamWorks Animation in launching a new series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring characters from DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek.

The PSAs will highlight our country’s forests including 155 National Forests and 20 Grasslands and to instill in children a life-long love of nature and an interest in conserving natural resources. For more information, visit the interactive website:  Discover the Forest where children and parents can find ideas for outdoor activities as well as educational and conservation information.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.  The agency manages 193 million acres of public land and is the largest forestry research organization in the world.